In April, facing off against multiple Republicans who split the vote, Democrat Jon Ossoff secured enough votes to qualify for a runoff in the special election for now-Health Secretary Tom Price’s vacated seat in the 6th Congressional district in Georgia. Now, according to polling, Ossoff has opened a sizable lead on Republican Karen Handel with a month to go in the race.
Ossoff leads Handel 51-44, with six percent of voters undecided.
The 7 percent lead is beyond the +/- margin of error of 4.3 percent, but “close enough in a low-turnout, stand-alone runoff to be anyone’s call, though clearly Ossoff is in a better position than Handel,” Survey USA analysts concluded.
While it’s still too close to call, further examination of the data shows Ossoff is in pretty good shape. He has large leads over Handel with women, voters under 50, minorities, and people who describe themselves as moderates. Both candidates are carrying their parties’ Presidential voters, and Handel has the support of people who voted for Tom Price in 2016, though that’s not surprising.
Also not surprising: such a hotly contested race is primed to become the most-expensive House race ever. Per NYMag:
The two campaigns and their partisan allies have already spent about $26 million on TV ads alone, with nearly a month left. The total spending is roughly even, with Jon Ossoff’s heavy small-donor-based campaign spending being balanced by the national GOP groups — particularly Paul Ryan’s Congressional Leadership Fund — running ads for Karen Handel.
NPR reports that the total for ads is expected to end up around $30 million and points out that President Trump spent less than three times that in the (nationwide) general election. It’s not known how this barrage of ads will affect turnout, but we’ll find out soon: early voting is set to begin May 30th.